Already featuring strong defenses, the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers added a combined five defensive players with their first six draft picks. Let's take a look at what the Cleveland Browns' rivals are working with in terms of rookies.
Top pick: C.J. Mosley – He has the smarts and talent to be the anchor of the Ravens defense for a long time. He's fast in coverage, firm against the run and was the leader of the most ferocious defense in the country at Alabama. If not for the concerns about his durability, specifically his shoulder, Mosley probably would've been a top 10 pick.
Interesting pick: Timmy Jernigan – Two weeks before he was picked, every mock draft had Jernigan as a top 20 pick. A diluted drug test raised red flags. There's no doubting Jernigan can maul offensive lineman. He's slated to play nose tackle behind Haloti Ngata. But can the Florida State Seminole stay out of trouble?
Sleeper pick: Lorenzo Taliaferro – The Ravens running back situation is in desperate need of some assistance, meaning Taliaferro might see the field right away. The 230-pounder bulldozed defenders at Coast Carolina and falls forward when tackled. His style is similar to both Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice, though. He's not a typical third down running back.
|1||24||Darqueze Dennard||Cornerback||Michigan State|
|2||55||Jeremy Hill||Running Back||LSU|
|3||88||Will Clarke||Defensive End|
Top pick: Darqueze Dennard – The Bengals' division possesses two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, and now Duke Johnson Jr.. Defending the pass will be paramount to winning games in the fourth quarter. Enter Darqueze Dennard. He has anticipation skills in coverage, is a reliable tackler and was Michigan State's first ever unanimous first-team All-American selection.
Interesting pick: AJ McCarron – It's hard to believe there were 163 better college football players than AJ McCarron in the draft. The two-time national championship winner ran a pro-style offense with the Crimson Tide, and rarely made mistakes. McCarron entered one of the better situations for himself personally. Bengals fans are growing weary of Andy Dalton's shortcomings in the playoffs, and will call for McCarron next season if 2014 ends prematurely.
Sleeper pick:Marquis Flowers – The Bengals have hit grand slams when picking players on day three in the draft. Their plug-and-play defense has produced Geno Atkins (fourth round), Domata Peko (fourth round) and even Vontaze Burfict (undrafted). Flowers can fly around in coverage and level tight ends and running backs. There will be a place for him in Cincinnati.
|1||15||Ryan Shazier||Linebacker||Ohio State|
|2||46||Stephon Tuitt||Defensive End||Notre Dame|
|3||97||Dri Archer||Running Back||Kent State|
|4||118||Martavis Bryant||Wide Receiver||Clemson|
|5||173||Wesley Johnson||Offensive Tackle||Vanderbilt|
|6||215||Daniel McCullers||Defensive Tackle||Tennessee|
|7||230||Rob Blanchflower||Tight End||Massachusetts|
Top pick:Ryan Shazier – He's just one of those football players who is involved in almost every single play. Shazier's athleticism is off the charts, literally. His 42-inch vertical led any player at the scouting combine. He led the Big Ten in tackling last season and one day he'll likely the AFC North in the same category.
Interesting pick: Martavis Bryant – NFL Network's Mike Mayock said maturity issues dropped Bryant to the fourth round. Talent and size-wise (6-foot-4, 211-pounds), Bryant has the look of a first rounder. Bryant had a penchant for the big play at Clemson opposite Sammy Watkins. Not many can air it out quite like Ben Roethlisberger.
Sleeper pick: Dri Archer – It's quite simple: the Steelers need more playmakers to strike fear in defenses. Archer fits the bill. A hybrid running back-wide receiver, we could see Archer lining up anywhere in a formation. Some had him clocked his 40-yard dash at 4.16.